Vegan & Nachhaltig – Ist das bei veganen Schuhen überhaupt möglich?

Vegan & Nachhaltig – Ist das bei veganen Schuhen überhaupt möglich?
27. Juni 2021 Julian
In Interviews
6 Min. Lesezeit

Vor Kurzem haben wir uns bereits ausführlich mit nachhaltigen Schuhen beschäftigt.

Hier findest du unseren Guide, in dem wir dir 18 nachhaltige Schuhlabels für jeden Anlass vorstellen.

Vor allem das große Angebot an veganen Schuhen ist uns bei den vorgestellten Labels aufgefallen. Gleichzeitig kam auch die Frage auf, wie nachhaltig vegane Schuhe sind? Welche Materialien kommen vor allem dann zum Einsatz, wenn bspw. auf Naturleder verzichtet wird und wie nachhaltig sind die Materialien wirklich?

Um uns einen genaueren Überblick zu verschaffen, haben wir mit Paula Perez, der Gründerin von NAE Vegan Shoes aus Portugal gesprochen. Ich kann euch bereits jetzt verraten, dass uns Paula nicht nur ihr persönliches Lieblingsstück verraten hat. Sie teilte auch sehr viele Herausforderungen und Erfahrungen in Bezug auf ihr Label und die Herstellung veganer Schuhe mit uns.

Viel Spaß beim Interview und nochmal vielen Dank liebe Paula für deine Zeit und weiterhin viel Erfolg.


Hello Paula, would you like to introduce yourself and NAE-Vegan Shoes to our readers?

Sure. My name is Paula Pérez and I’m NAE’s co-founder. I founded NAE in 2008 with my husband Alex, and for the past 13 years, we’ve been developing NAE to bring more sustainability to the fashion industry.

**NAE (No Animal Exploitation) is a vegan, ecological and ethical brand of footwear and accessories, for men and women.

In an earlier interview of yours, we read that you by no means lump the terms vegan and sustainability together. Can you explain your understanding of sustainability?

Simply put, sustainability is a set of actions that help preserve the environment and all living beings that inhabit it. Therefore, it makes sense to us that not using anything of animal origin is a good way to start the sustainable path. That’s where we started 13 years ago. Today, our vision is more comprehensive, and besides working with vegan materials, we also work with natural and recycled fibers.

How do you manage to achieve both high social and environmental standards along your textile value chain?

Doing detailed research of the origin and composition of the materials is fundamental to achieve these standards. All the materials we use are 100% plant-based, recycled, sustainable (the more natural the better), resistant and cruelty-free. It’s a big challenge to find materials that meet all these requirements, but we’re very proud of the results. You can find more info about our materials here:

How can you guarantee that only animal-free materials are used in your entire value chain, including in the production processes, or is that even possible?  For instance, I am also thinking of auxiliary materials such as adhesives, and also of lubricating greases for machines used.

The extensive research we do and the proximity to our suppliers allow us to ensure that all our products are made with vegan, sustainable and cruelty-free materials.

I have also already read from you that the selection of materials is a big challenge. Can you give our readers an insight into these challenges and show what criteria you use to select materials?

The main challenge is to find a material that is 100% vegetal, sustainable, durable enough for shoes, and produced ethically, without any animal exploitation. It’s an interesting challenge because sometimes a material has everything we want in terms of composition and sustainability levels but then it’s not resistant enough and ends up being disapproved by CTCP (the Portuguese Footwear Technology Center). This means we can no longer use it. On the other hand, the material can be extremely resistant, and its origin is 100% vegetable, but the sustainability levels are low, or its production is doubtful. We wouldn’t use it either.
It’s very difficult to find a balance, which is very important for us and our clients as well. Thanks to exhaustive research, we can guarantee the quality at all levels of the materials we use.

Which vegan material used in your shoes excites you the most and why?

All the materials we use are very interesting and versatile but perhaps Piñatex stands out, not only for the positive social impact involved in its production but also for the fiber’s versatility – which allows us to design our products in different textures and colors.

Find more information about Piñatex on

Take a look at our products made of Piñatex:

Vegan shoes are also said to have plastic as one of their main ingredients and the added ecological value is questionable.  What do you think about this statement?

It’s essential to reduce the consumption of plastic if we want to save our planet. At NAE, we’re aware of this and work together to reduce our plastic consumption as much as possible. It turns out that recycling can’t keep up with the excessive plastic consumption of the last few decades. So, what we’ve done is to help reuse single-use plastic (in this case, plastic bottles) that would inevitably end up in the sea. Of course, our goal is to stop making shoes made from recycled plastic and to keep manufacturing our products using only natural materials. However, there’s a path that needs to be taken, and if we can help, that’s what we will do. We all need to do our part.

In a perfect world, how do you see fashion being understood by consumers and the fashion industry as a whole?

Change is happening, and you can already see it in both consumers and brands. Over the last 13 years, we’ve seen many ethical and sustainable brands emerge, as well as consumers becoming more and more conscious and responsible when buying. But there’s more that needs to be done. The fashion industry needs to work together to create more conscious, functional, quality, ethical, dignified, and sustainable collections. This is the only way to avoid waste, animal cruelty, and exploitation. It’s a job for everyone. Consumers and brands.

Finally, would you like to tell us what is currently your favorite piece in your new collection?

It’s a difficult question because our summer collection was designed to offer our customers both comfort and versatility in a single pair of shoes. Therefore, all models are functional and comfortable. The essential collection is an ode to simplicity. But if I had to choose only one piece, maybe I’d choose the Bay sandals , a unisex model designed in 3 neutral colors with an ergonomic insole that perfectly adapts to the shape of the foot.

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